Respecting your customers
A friend is working on a business plan that involves selling a product she wouldn’t use. It’s a good plan, with great potential, but it seemed like she not only wouldn’t use the product, but that she didn’t respect many of the people who would.
Listening prompted me to ask if she thought she could be successful in a business where she had contempt for her customers.
It seemed like an interesting but not particularly important question. Lots of businesses seem to do just fine financially while exhibiting contempt for their customers. I just thought it wouldn’t be as much fun.
Weeks later we met again and she told me that she’d been thinking a lot about that question, and was revising her plan. It got me thinking about our customers.
Every once in a while the hard-core business guy inside me gets a little jealous of businesses with larger markets or wealthier customers or whatever. A stupid, “the grass is greener” moment.
Meeting or hearing from our customers always zaps that jealousy. (Or, rather, converts it into guilt and shame.) Because our customers are people I can’t help but hold in the highest respect: pastors, teachers, students, and others who are investing so much of their lives in Bible study, ministry, and teaching others. At every encounter I am humbled by our customers’ passion and enthusiasm for the Word and by their generosity and encouragement.
This week on the Bible Study Bus Road Trip a customer overheard a young man saying that he wanted to purchase a copy of Logos Bible Software, but couldn’t afford it yet. The customer pulled out his credit card and bought it for the stranger.
Today another customer sent me an email describing how the Lord brought him through a crisis of faith with a period of intense Bible study: “It is 3 years since that crisis of faith, and this little posting will never express how grateful I am to you and the team at Logos for putting this product together….Logos has impacted my life in a way that I can not really put into words…”
I can be foolish in many ways, but I am wise enough to know that Logos Bible Software is just a tool. It is just one of many ways the Lord works through His Word. He doesn’t need me, or Logos Bible Software. So it’s a privilege that He does use us, and an incredible blessing that “the business guy inside me” has been given a job, and a living, in a business that’s fun and encouraging and serving customers I could not respect more.
I have a friend who sells a mass-market service to hundreds of thousands of customers. I have another friend whose business sells primarily to billionaires. But I don’t know any business person whose customers would double a $500 purchase to give a copy to a stranger, or who gets letters about how their product was instrumental in a spiritual renewal.
I am so grateful to work on the greenest of all business grass.